Kage Baker expected to leap from her surgical bed restored to health and, like, 25 years of age. I remember cautioning her that this was unrealistic – she replied that as long as she aimed at the impossible, any gain would be good. I think I rolled my eyes.
So what am I doing today? Moping around grumpily because my own recovery has plateaued a bit. I don’t feel better than yestreday – I am still tired and sore – my family does not believe me that I can miraculously suddenly drive. It’s unfair! Sure, I’ve still got a dressing I can’t even change by myself; and yes, I’m giving myself anticoagulant injections every day – but I’m better now, damn it! I wanna go play!
Actually this started last week, when they moved me finally from the cardiology floor to the gynecology floor. I wouldn’t talk to the cardiologists anyway, so there was no need to keep me wired up to the heart monitors anymore. So off I went to the 3rd floor.
Cedars-Sinai has a rather odd system there. The 3rd floor floor holds all the post-surgical gynecological oncology patients – but it also holds the maternity and obstetrics rooms. What it produces is a very weird mix of visitors: half of them are thrilled and celebratory, the other half are frightened and sad. But all of the patients are sore and ferocious, hell-bent on forcing our bodies into cooperation with our varying female organ goals. So the halls are full of hobbling ladies in inadequate gowns, scowling with determination and varying degrees of triumph.
It’s like a MASH unit for Amazons.
As soon as I was installed in my new room and the faeries had welcomed me with a triumphant circle dance, the traditional negotiation war began. Would I walk in the hall Only if they took off the damned heart monitor. Would I please ring for help getting in and out of bed? No, but I’d tell them when I did if they would refrain from alarming my bed. When could I go home? Soon is always the only answer – in a vague soothing voice indicating that Lemura rising was going to happen first. Plus a daily series of impudent queries into the working of my body, which I only answered because I knew they wouldn’t let me go until I proved I could once more function normally.
My record with meals was not exemplary. Why wouldn’t I eat more? Because the food was horrid: even for hospital food. I regret to report that Cedars-Sinai wins no medals for good food. The chopped spinach looked (and tasted) like what you clean off of lawnmower blades, the gelatine was never red, the nutritionist laughed at the idea of bacon. The vegetables were fresh but somehow had no taste. The only way to manage the meat was to assign identity by colour: beef is brown, chicken is yellow, fish is white. Cheese is cold, so you can’t mistake it for sliced turkey.
This is why you need visitors in the hospital – to bring you real food. Kage used to smuggle in pizza; Kimberly brought me Jack In The Box food. As long as I succeeded in going to the bathroom and didn’t break out in food rashes, the nurses were willing to turn a blind eye. It’s the usual compromise with patients almost ready to go home.
When I was just upon point of escaping, though, a complication arose. All I had still stuck in my by this time was the surgical drain and the neck port, and I was nagging to get those out ASAP. Then the culture from my pre-surgical urine sample grew out … I had managed to become infected with something weird and unexpected, and would be confined to have antibiotics pumped into me. But this was where they finally got to use the neck port, which was evidently thrilling for all concerned (except me).
So for the last three days I got hooked up to another pump every 12 hours, with pale green Vancomycin dripping into my jugular. In between times I paced around my room; when I got tired, I read the Silmarillion on my Kindle. Quite frankly, it was boring, Dear Readers – boring to live through, boring to report. This part of recovery always is.
And then you come home and for a day or two you are fizzing with energy, just because you are home! And then about … now, the excitement of once more wearing your own underwear wears off and you crash a bit. and that’s where I am now – mean, stiff, sore, and suddenly with enough energy to be a wretch about it.
But, hey, this too shall pass. And I can finally get red Jello. And real cheese! And the only reminder left of my neck port is the two little red holes left in my neck …